Final sprint for the German EU Council Presidency Translator: Supporting multilinguality in times where quick and seamless information exchange is key


On July 1st, 2020, Germany assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In times where quick information exchange is essential, the German EU Council Presidency Translator has provided a fast and easy way to communicate across languages and borders. The joint project of the  German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and Tilde was facilitated by financial support from the Federal Foreign Office. The translation platform was developed by Tilde and uses the systems of DeepL, DFKI, eTranslation, and Tilde.

After one month already, the German EU Council Presidency Translator set new records: More than 14 million words were translated in the first month. Now that the German EU Council Presidency is heading towards the end of the German presidency, the MT system reached an impressive milestone with over 120 million translated words since its launch in July 2020. This is comparable to the sum of all of the words in the Encyclopedia Britannica (44 million), the entire Brockhaus (33 million) and almost all basic forms listed in the Duden corpus counted twice (23 million x 2). Or, less emphatically, roughly 300.000 pages of machine translated material.

These figures show the smooth adoption of the EU Council Presidency Translator by the general public and thus the need for a seamless flow of information for a Europe "united in diversity". Most interestingly, the five most commonly used languages include Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Bulgarian and Greek. When asked for their experiences with the MT tool, professional translators of the Federal Ministries’ language services reacted very positively:

"After initial reservations, everyone in our language service quickly recognized the benefits of the MT as soon as they had integrated the EU Council Presidency Translator into their daily work. Here, too, it is clear that the proof of the pudding is in the eating".

Language Tools such as the EU Council Presidency Translator and the eTranslation platform are proof that European Language Technology is on a promising path and has great potential to further shape Europe’s digital future.